By Tech Rathgen

Prologue - Escape From Shelilah

The ventilation shaft nearly sucked the mice into a grave danger and could have sent them where they started. It wasn't easy to hold the hope kept so dear and so close. The air nearly sucked all of the mice into a long journey through the air ducts.

The only mouse lucky enough to make it out of the shaft was Greg Read. He was responsible for the escape from Shelilah - a science facility who used computers to program the ability to think like a human. It was also their goal to slow down the aging process, but since they used computers their results were entirely unsuccessful, except on one particular experiment. That particular experiment was Greg Read. It almost seemed like a destiny for this to happen.

Yes, a destiny! A destiny that served him well. Shelilah had an ever growing interest in this mouse with light gray fur. Even before the Shelilah scientists ultimately experimented on him with their enhanced technology, he already showed signs of learning beyond that of any other test subject.

In a very difficult maze, he first explored and then conquered shortly afterwards.

Greg led the rats to freedom and thus made a name for himself. His name was known across the land and any family member would also be known. The rats of Shelilah inhabited an under ground city called Familopia and they made it themselves. It was shroud in darkness.

However; despite all this, Greg wasn't the main character in all of this mayhem. He characters visited have taken a different trail and they had to do something entirely different from what Greg had to do, but it was Greg who began his story. This was how the story of courage, of love, and of adventure first began. It had all came to light…

"Scatter!" Greg cried as the rats and him left the safety of Shelilah's security system. The rats at first had no idea what type of danger lurked. It was dangerous to be out here was all they knew.

The rats looked up and stared into the eyes of the creature. The youngest ones pointed at the creature's face. "It's . . . it's a . . . it's a . . ."

The creature known around these parts as Amelia finished the sentence for them. "It's a . . . it's a . . . female fox! Come here my pretties, let's play."

The rats scattered to find a place to hide behind trees or burrows and waited for Greg, their hero, to distract them. Their smarts saved them. Amelia pounced a really young rat and played with her prey. She enjoyed tossing the little rat everywhere around in a circle as the rodent screamed for dear life.

Amelia smiled playfully, "Now, it's time to have a little tea party…in my belly." She laughs as if she were in a play.

"Ahem." Greg leaned against a nearby tree and grinned. It was like he offering a worthy challenge. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size? Or perhaps an eighth your size? You shouldn't harm other girls just because they're smaller than you."

Amelia stopped what she was doing and let the young rat escape. She grinned back and could tell this mouse had made an offer she couldn't refuse. "Well, you appear to be an eighth my size and you too look young for a mouse with this sort of attitude. And you know what your voice tells me?"

Greg tapped his foot and smiled arrogantly. And yes, he was very young because of the success of Shelilah. "What does it tell you?"

Amelia licked her lips. Her eyes glimmered at the tender and very fresh mouse meat. She glared at his eyes. "You sound like a male mouse the fox might have drug in. I can already see the one eighth of you being fed to me or to my future litter of kits. Oh, how I love the taste of mouse in the morning."

Greg put on an even larger arrogant smile. "I'd hate to spoil your fun so suddenly, but I have the urge to run like an Olympic Champion. I'm not talking gold or silver, I'm talking about the bronze medal. With that, you're in the door, but the other two are just icing on the cake."

Amelia blinked with little interest - almost out of boredom - and the mouse was gone. She popped her mouth open in shock for a second or two and couldn't believe her eyes. She immediately sniffed in his scent and he was very close to her . She looked left and right . She even jumped around in circles to find him, but he wasn't anywhere.

Little did she know that the mouse was directly under her. Where is that mouse?

As Amelia sniffed for him again, Greg slowly backed away and never turned his eyes away from her front side. He was so busy just to keep an eye on this vixen.

Greg blinked fro a short period.

This was never my strong point.

Amelia took another whiff of the mouse and looked under herself. Greg was too far back to be seen, but even then his life hung by a thread. Amelia merely waited for the mouse to make a mistake. It was only a moment in her eyes and it was pure bliss just to think about it.

Greg miss-stepped and tripped over Amelia's back left hind paw. He immediately got up and ran for it. He wasn't even a few steps away when Amelia spotted him.

Amelia immediately turned around and gave chase. Greg ran to a nearby hole and dove in without thinking twice about it. Amelia nearly snatched his tail from under him. It was a very close call.

The hole was narrow and shaped like a sphere. It was long and only had one other exit. Worse of all, it was very close to the surface.

Greg was at a huge disadvantage and he didn't realize it until it was too late. It was difficult to do anything at all. He wasn't ever prepared for something like this before. Not something so suddenly. Perhaps he was safer in Shelilah after all.

Amelia dug her way through the dirt and it took very little effort to dig. Her hard work to capture the mouse was a pure success. She was pleased with herself to have finally caught the mouse in between her paws. She felt like leaping up in the air and taking her playmate with her.

She could see it now. Leaping. Pouncing. Tossing her prey around. Even eat her playmate. Nothing could stop her now, except for her enjoyment to make promises.

Instead of playing with her food, Amelia pinned the mouse to the ground and laughed a little. She looked down, into the mouse's eyes and grinned. "Now, the moment I've been waiting for. My chance to finally eat something . You should know that I've been waiting to eat for two whole days and I finally get my gift of meals. I hope you enjoyed your life."

Greg attempted to persuade the fox to let him go. "You can't do this. I have a family."

Amelia was surprised, almost shocked to hear this. "You do?"

"Yes. So eating me would be a huge mistake."

Amelia eagerly came up with an idea. "If you don't find your family and I discover this was some trick… I'll eat you myself. I'll inform others of this agreement, so only I can eat you. You have a month to find them. Deal?"